Kino Keeno

"Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates…"

Month: January, 2016

Is Werner Herzog a Radiohead fan?

by Ben Diamond

My first thought, as I imagine everyone else’s was too, when I saw the new trailer for Werner Herzog’s next film, The Connected World, was: Did the Wern-Dogg just use Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac era font?

Here’s the trailer in question:

And here’s some text from that trailer if you’re too lazy to watch it all –

Herzog Trailer Font

And here’s the font Stanley Donwood, one half of Radiohead’s art department (the other being Thom Yorke, under various pseudonyms ‘Dr. Tchock’, ‘The White Chocolate Farm’, etc (I’m not making this up)), used around the turn of the millennium –

Donwood Font example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The font, my research tells me, is called ‘BT Plakatbau’ and was created by the graphic artists’ collective ‘Büro Destruct’ (a very Donwoodian-sounding name), who formed in 1994.

Where am I going with all this?  I don’t know.  The font isn’t even the same. Herzog’s is chunkier (and I think his font has a bit more girth to it as well).  But it’s similar enough.  I’m calling Herzog out on this one.  I think he’s a long time ‘head fan.  I’m going to go further than this and speculate that he tolerates the Bends/OK Computer-era stuff but comes into his métier with the b-sides from the fruitful Kid A recording sessions.

His thoughts on The King of Limbs are unknown.

I suppose this is my long-winded way of saying that I’m looking forward to the next Herzog doc, like everyone else is.  The internet, and the connected world, and all that, is a concern of Thom Yorke’s too, so that adds some minor weight to my theory.

Here’s Thom Yorke talking about us being the commodity on the internet, within the context of his having seen Adam Curtis’s 3-part documentary All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (well worth a watch).  Our content is the commodity being bought and sold.  Much like this blog post.  (Full interview here): –

In the days before we meet, he has been watching a box set of Adam Curtis’s BBC series, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, about the implications of our digitised future, so the arguments are fresh in his head. “We were so into the net around the time of Kid A,” he says. “Really thought it might be an amazing way of connecting and communicating. And then very quickly we started having meetings where people started talking about what we did as ‘content’. They would show us letters from big media companies offering us millions in some mobile phone deal or whatever it was, and they would say all they need is some content. I was like, what is this ‘content’ which you describe? Just a filling of time and space with stuff, emotion, so you can sell it?”

Having thought they were subverting the corporate music industry with In Rainbows, he now fears they were inadvertently playing into the hands of Apple and Google and the rest. “They have to keep commodifying things to keep the share price up, but in doing so they have made all content, including music and newspapers, worthless, in order to make their billions. And this is what we want? I still think it will be undermined in some way. It doesn’t make sense to me. Anyway, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The commodification of human relationships through social networks. Amazing!”

And here’s one last Radiohead quote, this time courtesy of Jonny Greenwood, because it’s hilarious, fucked-up, and I couldn’t resist: –

We used to go into the IRC rooms and pretend to be us. But at the end of the session, we would say ‘I confess, my name is Steve and I am from Ottawa, I’m just sitting here with all my Radiohead books’. Then someone would come in the room and pretend to be Colin, even though Colin was downstairs playing bass. It got very twisted.

Incidentally, God bless whoever made the Radiohead site where that quote came from.  It’s very Web 1.0, but I’m glad it’s still standing.  It’s a goldmine of Radiohead quotes that I haven’t found elsewhere.  In many ways, OK Computer was very Web 1.0, too.  And props to Radiohead for going on IRC chat rooms in the ’90s.  Men ahead of their time.  Men ahead of their time.

I am aware that I’ve gone from Herzog to Radiohead, without any hope of coming back full circle.  Things often wind up Chez Thomm round these parts…

The Revenant

by Ben Diamond

revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (Iñárritu, 156m, 2016)

Warning – spoilers

Don’t you hate it when you’re on an expedition for pelts and you get into a fight with a bear, and the bear sort of wins the fight?  And then the bear gets cocky and comes back for more and you decide that you’re not going to take this bear’s shit any more?  (At this point, if someone asked me if I was going to take this bear’s shit anymore, I would reply ‘Does a bear shit in the woods?’).  So then, don’t you hate it when the bear comes back, and you shoot it, but it keeps laying into you, and you’re all ‘Get OFF me, bear!’ and eventually it sort of does, and you both roll down a ravine and the bear lands on you but you’re still alive, and your friends find you, and you think you’re home and dry, that they’ll look after you, and then they decide to kill your son and leave you for dead?  But you’re not dead?  Don’t you just flipping HATE that?

I like that director Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu has clearly put the everyman at the forefront of his concerns when making The Revenant.  In David Cameron’s Big Society, we’re all getting savaged by bears on expeditions for pelts.  Every bloody day.  It really gets you down after a while.  So here’s DiCaprio, and he’s got a message for Cameron.  He’s mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore.  He’s got an e-petition for Downing Street.  And he’s just fallen off a fucking cliff, on a horse.  But he’s landed, and he’s alright. And he’s got another horse.  And he’s heading for Millbank.  And he’s not stopping at Tate Britain on the way.

But.  And there is a but.  No-one can understand what Tom Hardy is saying.  I can’t understand what Tom Hardy is saying.  DiCaprio can’t understand what Tom Hardy is saying.  Even Tom Hardy can’t understand what Tom Hardy is saying.  Come to think of it, I can never understand what Tom Hardy is saying. In any film.  Maybe all directors are desperate to have Hardy-specific subtitles, but there’s a ‘no-subtitles clause’ that Hardy’s agent writes into every contract, lest his ego be bruised.  It’s like Hardy got sent the script from a mumblecore film by accident instead and learnt his lines and everyone was too scared to tell him, so they all just went along with it.

“Is that good, what I’m doing?  All the prowling and mumbling?”  Hardy probably mumbled to Iñárritu, during filming.  “What did Hardy just say?” Iñárittu probably whispered to an assistant.  “I can’t understand a word he’s saying.  Let’s sort that out in post.  Make a note to sort that out in post.”  Alas, the post-it note to to sort it out in post must’ve got lost.  Probably in the post. Lost in the post.

Shades of Enter The Void-style Gaspar Noe, with the omniscient floating camera. Shades of Uncle Boonmee, with the implication of a second, nature-based narrative.  Shades of Castaway, with the “WIL-SOOOOON!”.  Cameron might’ve face-fucked a dead pig, but DiCaprio’s been inside a dead horse.

The Hateful Eight

by Ben Diamond

The Hateful Eight (Tarantino, 187m, 2016)

The Hateful Eight (Tarantino, 187m, 2016)

The audacity of Odeon Leicester Square to hold an oligopolgy over the 70mm Ultra Panavision print of the film and then charge £20 a ticket couldn’t spoil my enjoyment.  The cheerful on-screen imperatives during the intermission to go forth into the foyer and purchase diluted syrup Coca-Cola, Malteasers and other treats couldn’t spoil my enjoyment.  The wanker chowing down on smelly nachos next to me couldn’t spoil my enjoyment.  The middling reviews that I read in the week leading up to me seeing the film couldn’t spoil my enjoyment. Even the cunt who started looking at their mobile phone during the most tense end scene of the film couldn’t spoil my enjoyment.

Because at the end of the day, a New Tarantino is a New Tarantino and nothing can take that away from me.  I still felt the buzz driving to the cinema.  I still felt the buzz of being in the cinema.  Yes, Tarantino may have lost his edge.  He’s still head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.  His ear for dialogue may have gone.  It doesn’t matter.  He’s still the master storyteller.  And thank fuck he decided to exempt himself from acting in this one, relegating himself to the brief role of narrator.  Never before have I been so excited and intrigued by the sight of a single jelly bean lodged inbetween the floorboards.

It’s some people.  In a shed.  Being tense.  That’s basically all there is to it.  It’s great.  It has shouty Samuel L Jackson.  It has some civil war unfinished business.  It has a ‘Red Apples’ moment so people can feel sophisticated by recognising the most fucking obvious visual trope in the history of cinema Tarantino’s calling card.  Ooh, and look at the snow – outside!  Looking pretty. Cinematography and that.  Great, innit?

The Stephen Fry quote (about PG Wodehouse) comes to mind – “You don’t analyse such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendour.” Wodehouse and Tarantino don’t sound like they have much in common.  They don’t.  But they’re literary and filmic comfort food for the soul.  Fry’s right. Don’t analyse it.  Just bask in it.

Over the three-plus hours, there’s actually very little action.  Just little doggies, barking all day.  Ramping up the tension.  Tarantino must be doing something right.  Roll on number ten.